About 2 weeks ago I attended RAMFest 2013 Johannesburg at Riversands Farm. It was the third year in a row that this festival was held at this venue and the fourth year in a row that I attended it.
We arrived at the venue late Friday afternoon, just in time to catch Man As Machine. These okes got the festival off to a rocking start and blew the early birds away with their no-nonsense rock ‘n roll style. Their cover of the POD song “Boom” was something that I’ll never forget. After them it was time for the Black Cat Bones. These Pretoria boys showed the crowd just why they won the MK Award for Best Live act a week later. They were extremely energetic on stage. I still stick to my opinion that they have the craziest bassist in SA Music.
The rain caused some issues on Day One. The Boom! stage had to start later and there were sound issues at the main stage. It took the organizers two hours to sort out the hiccups, but it all turned out okay in the end. I caught a glimpse of Pretoria band North of Winter and then sucked in the awesomeness that is Inspector Cluzo (two crazy rockers from France). After this I found out why Fuzigish is still one of the best live acts in South Africa and everyone found out why Van Coke Kartel has won the MK Award for Best Live Act for two years in a row.
It was awesome seeing the Bellville rockers collaborating with guys like Laudo Liebenberg (from aKING), George van der Spuy (from Taxi Violence), Hunter Kennedy (from Fokofpolisiekar and Die Heuwels Fantasties) and Peach van Pletzen (of Yesterday’s Pupil and Bittereinder fame). It was something special that those attending will never forget. After this the crowd and I danced our arses off to the sounds of Jack Parow. It was also extremely awesome seeing Francois van Coke sharing the stage with him again.
We drove back to Pretoria after day one and made our way back early on Saturday morning in time to catch the first live act at 12 noon. Tailor blew the crowd away with her unique musical style and awesome live performance skills. The day progressed slowly with some performances from a few metal bands and an awesome display by the Monster Energy motocross dudes.
Eventually it was time for Jet Black Camaro at 4 PM. These Joburgers blew the crowd away with their no-nonsense style of Bluesy Rock ‘n Roll. They reminded the crowd that rock ‘n roll wasn’t dead after all. Short Straw were up next on the Boom! stage. They entertained the crowd to the max. Apparently some random chick flashed them (but I missed it). It doesn’t matter if you were in a bad mood before their set, everyone left smiling afterwards. Short Straw just has that effect on people.
BEAST were up in the late afternoon on the main stage. Inge Beeckman, two guys from Taxi Violence on bass and the drummer from the Plastics proved just why they are definitely one of the acts to watch in 2013. This was definitely one of the highlights of RAMFest 2013 Johannesburg for me. There were a bunch of metal bands up after this. Eventually it was for Pestroy. I have to admit that these Joburg rockers tore the crowd a new one with their in-your-face style of hard rock.
Bring me the Horizon were up next. Their live performance skills impressed the crowd who were completely blown away by them. I’m not a huge fan and I don’t know their music, but I have to admit that I was particularly impressed by them. Rise Against were up last and blew the Riversands Farm crowd away with their expert crowd interaction and live performance skills. It was something that we’ll never forget. I hope they come back to South Africa soon.
Overall, RAMFest 2013 Johannesburg was an awesome experience, besides some minor issues. The toilets could have been organized better, but there were ample food stalls and enough bars to handle the crowd of +/- 12,000 people. I have to admit that I would’ve loved to camp though.
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